Before embarking on our trip to the Outer Hebrides, we stayed in a B&B in North Connel. Close by was the historic Connel Bridge, which spans Loch Etive. Opened in 1903 and originally built as a railway bridge, but now a single track road for just vehicles, it’s a cantilever type bridge with a span of 160m. When built it was the longest in Britain after the Forth (railway) Bridge.
Beneath it are the Falls of Lora, which are strong running currents caused by the ebb and flow of the tides rushing in and out of the loch. Water pours through this relatively narrow gap at an amazing rate of 4,600 tonnes per second. So you can see why it’s a favourite spot for expert kayakers and sea rescue exercises.
Five miles to the south of Connel is Oban which, apart from being one of the main ferry terminals on the west coast of Scotland, it’s mostly famous for McCaig’s Tower. The brainchild of a wealthy banker the building was started in 1897, but only the walls were finished when he died in 1902 and the structure was never completed. It’s now a public garden but, as you will see from the photos below, it dominates the town.
As you will also see, we had a perfect day for our sailing through the Sound of Mull to Castlebay on the Isle of Barra. Although we didn’t manage to see any whales, we did see porpoises.
Over the next few days, I shall take you on a journey to some of the islands and the most amazing beaches that we were lucky enough to visit on our way to the Butt of Lewis, which lies at the northern tip of the Outer Hebrides.